A Perspective from Nathan Ware, CEO of Axe Recruiting

#Recruiting #ManufacturingTalent #WorkforceSolutions

Oct. 20, 2023

Manufacturers’ labor demand continues to outpace supply, and the urgency to bridge this gap is more pressing than ever. In June 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a staggering 600,000 job openings within the industry. Manufacturing talent shortages compounded by a wave of experienced professionals approaching retirement, the manufacturing sector grapples with an expanding talent void. To thrive in this challenging landscape, manufacturers must adopt a creative, forward-thinking approach to talent acquisition that aligns with their long-term growth strategy.

Manufacturing Challenges in a Competitive Labor Market

In a labor market characterized by record low unemployment rates, a significant 20% of middle-market CFOs view talent shortages as a substantial threat to their company’s growth in 2023. Recent workforce adjustments in certain sectors have increased the pool of job seekers, but competition for qualified employees remains fierce.

Manufacturers face a dual challenge. Firstly, they need to dispel outdated perceptions about the industry, demonstrating how modern-day manufacturing combines cutting-edge technology with highly skilled workers. Secondly, they’re in a relentless battle for talent against not only their manufacturing peers but also tech giants and others.

Crafting Solutions for Hiring Challenges

Manufacturers must devise strategies to attract a skilled and diverse workforce, capable of operating the technologies that will drive sustainable growth. Here are three unique approaches:

1. Rethinking Recruiting

Manufacturers need to think beyond conventional outreach initiatives. While events like Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month are pivotal for educating students and potential employees, it doesn’t stop there. Manufacturers must capture the imagination of students early, promoting the industry’s diverse career possibilities through year-round tours and hands-on demonstrations. Collaborating with local schools on career days, vocational training, and related activities can also ignite interest.

Moreover, unlocking the potential of often-overlooked talent pools through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) can mitigate workforce pressures while providing financial incentives. And don’t forget about retirees; their experience, when tapped into, can be invaluable. Encouraging them to return, even on a part-time basis, offers both a competitive skillset and a boost to your workforce.

2. Cultivating an Outstanding Culture

In a competitive labor market, manufacturers must go beyond the basics of standard benefits. Benefits should reflect the evolving priorities of the workforce, from work-life balance to inflation concerns. Offering competitive benefits packages that include extra PTO, flexible review structures, phantom equity options, and professional development stipends can set you apart. Employee referral bonuses, childcare services, transportation programs, and relocation assistance can further sweeten the deal.

3. Providing Professional Growth Opportunities

Retaining top talent is just as important as attracting it. Investing in career-pathing exercises allows companies to better understand employee goals, offering reskilling and upskilling opportunities that benefit both the organization and individuals. Growth opportunities can also retain potential retirees, facilitating knowledge transfer to the next generation of workers.

Navigating the Path Forward

As labor shortages persist, manufacturers must continue to find innovative ways to attract talent, from newcomers to experienced leaders. Moreover, aligning workforce strategies with long-term business goals is paramount. Whether building business-to-consumer (B2C) capabilities or expanding in other directions, the right talent with aligned experience can drive your business to success.

For more insights and solutions on conquering manufacturing talent shortages, visit Axe Recruiting. To discuss your specific hiring needs, book a meeting with us.

In this evolving landscape, Axe Recruiting is your strategic partner for securing the exceptional talent that will propel your manufacturing endeavors to new heights.